A small business is heavily reliant on its online reputation.
Sometimes, all it takes is a single negative review for the business to spiral out of control. With this in mind, many business owners feel apprehensive about their chances of building a positive brand without dealing with the consequences of a damaging review.
In such situations, it’s best to focus on the right approach towards handling reputation-related objectives. Here are some of the best ways small businesses can improve their reputation online.
Best Ways Small Businesses Can Improve Their Online Reputation
1) Ask for Reviews
Yes, you should be more than happy to accept reviews because these are the backbone of a good online reputation.
In essence, you want to be smart about how you do this because negative reviews are a massive concern. To avoid negative reviews, you should only go after customers that are loyal or have shown positivity towards the product/service.
Please do not bribe customers as that looks bad and is illegal. Instead, the goal should be to ask for reviews and remain selective when it comes to the customers that are sought out. This is one of the best ways to maximize each review.
2) Become a Trusted Expert in the Niche
People want to find an authoritative figure when it comes to making a purchase. Whether it’s a chef talking about food or a builder talking about construction tools, people only trust those who have shown expertise in the niche.
If you want to create a positive first impression then it’s time to become an expert in the field. This is all about putting forth valuable opinions on social media accounts or on your website to welcome interaction with prospective clients. Over time, they will start to go out of their way to learn more from you. This is when making sales becomes a breeze. They’re already willing to listen and are going to be more than happy to pay up.
3) Don’t Be Afraid of Negative Reviews
Business owners often fret when it comes to negative reviews.
Indeed, these reviews are harmful and can do a significant amount of damage to the business. However, this is not the end of the world as long as you plan accordingly. You should tackle these negative reviews head-on and as professionally as possible. This means reaching out to the customer, learning about what’s gone wrong, and making amends. By doing this, you’re already setting the right tone and improving your online reputation.
4) Build Online Partnerships in Relevant Niches/Industries
Are there relevant niches that can be attached to your specific business?
For example, if you sell computers, it is never a bad idea to attach with specific software programs that can be used on your devices. In essence, these partnerships can help build credibility online and that’s going to have a direct impact on your reputation as a business. Too many businesses fall apart because they live in their own bubble and that starts to eat away at their credibility.
People want something that is well-rounded and has a network of businesses revolving around it.
5) Be Humble
Whether you are speaking to an unhappy customer or building a new relationship, there’s nothing more important than humility. You want to stay humble because this is going to be the first impression made online. People pay attention to these things and don’t like a business that is rough or demeaning. No one wants to give their hard-earned money to a company that is unprofessional or unwilling to listen.
This is when things start to fall apart for the business and it becomes a negative influence.
Be smart and vigilant when it comes to your humility because it will set the tone for years to come.
6) Don’t Force Online Trends
If you see a new fad develop, it’s not always a good idea to hop on board and start to play around with the concept. It might work in some cases but it may fall apart in others. For example, you wouldn’t want a funeral house to start using hashtags on Twitter. It looks unprofessional and is simply not going to work for the business model. This does a lot of damage to the business when done in poor taste.
Think about your niche before you head down this path as that can have a damaging impact on your bottom line.
7) Maintain a Theme and Tone
Online reputation is all about the impression you make on potential leads.
You want to be a business that is all about staying professional and understands the value of putting its best foot forward. As long as you’re doing this, you will manage well in these situations and that’s what it all comes down to.
Before doing anything else, it’s time to sit down and plan out how you’re going to interact with people online. What type of language will be used? What is your tone going to be like? Does it work well with your niche or is it going to seem out of place?
For example, a nightclub owner can get away with slang but someone selling caskets can’t do the same thing! The right tone is going to get the job done and it’s important to stay on top of this as much as possible. Otherwise, you’re going to get caught out in a horrible situation that could tarnish the brand forever. A lot of businesses lose out for this reason but it doesn’t have to be the case here.
Stay focused and create a positive theme around your business and what it does online.
Running a small business is daunting and the digital world is truly tantalizing. It brings along with it a number of new challenges that are hard to manage. Stay patient and understand the nuances of your online reputation.
By implementing these methods, you are going to be well on your way towards a healthier and more meaningful online reputation.